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Studies on Balkan and Near Eastern Social Sciences – Volume 3

Edited By Rasim Yilmaz and Günther Löschnigg

The third volume of «Studies on Balkan and Near Eastern Social Sciences» is a collection of empirical and theoretical research papers in the social sciences regarding the Balkans and the Near East written by researchers from several different universities and institutions. The book addresses economic, financial, political, sociological, international relations, health, cultural, and feminist issues in the region of the Balkan and Near East. The book is aimed at educators, researchers, and students interested in the Balkan and Near Eastern countries.

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Is Public Service One of the Determinants of Happiness: Evidence from Turkey in Province Level

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Introduction

The economics of happiness is a branch of public economics that explores how individuals can improve their life satisfaction by using public policies. One of the standard hypotheses in microeconomic theory is that, ceteris paribus, the more individuals have preferences, the higher they have the quality of life. Individuals who have more preferences over actions will maximize their own well-being. Higher income is associated with the number of preferences and hence higher income level will mean higher happiness.

Marginal utility is defined as the change in total utility with consumption of an additional unit of goods or service. According to the law of decreasing marginal utility, the marginal utility gradually decreases as the consumption of a good or service is increased in equal amounts. For this reason, individuals who want to increase their happiness must increase their utility which is directly proportional to the variety of goods or services individuals have. Besides, the literature on economics of happiness indicates that there can be many variables that affect an individual’s level of happiness. Individual health, public health policies, individual safety, and social life are just a few of them.

Easterlin (2013) asks three specific questions regarding happiness:

1. Are economic growth policies enough in themselves to raise people’s happiness, i.e. their subjective well-being (SWB)?

2. Are there other policies that might raise SWB?

3. Can poorer countries afford policies to raise SWB?

The answers...

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